At the early stages of learning, guided forms of meditation are the most effective way to root us to the practice. It is common and natural to lose track in the initial learning stage of meditation. The more we force ourselves the more we move astray. Instead of struggling ourselves, in guided meditation, we take the support of guidance of any other sources in different forms to lead us to the path of meditation. It is the meditation with the help of a guide or some guidance. Guided meditation is the best way for beginners to enter into this arena. Though there are many suggested ways of guided meditation, yet one can create their own source guidance, based on their understanding and level of ease. Here are four types, which I personally found useful during my days as a beginner.
It can be basically done in two ways. Firstly you can take help of any outer image of your choice and try to concentrate on it. It can be anything that carries a sense of peace and relaxation with it, like some picturesque portrait or it may also be image or idol of your worshipping God. Secondly, you can create your own mental image i.e. you can guide yourself by following a visual image of something. Make mental images of your thoughts, dreams, expectations etc. and give them a shape. A visualization is a powerful tool for mental healing.
Guided Body Scan
As the name indicates, scan your body from head to toe. You can use your body to guide you through the process of meditation. By bringing awareness to the body, start feeling your body, like what it feels in the bottom of your feet, your toes, gradually towards your legs, right leg, left leg and so on. Explore the different sensations in your body, pleasant or unpleasant, in a gradual manner either from head to toe or toe to head. Concentrate on the whole process and create awareness within your body.
Guided Music or mantra
Guide yourself with some soothing and soft music, some mantra, or guided audio version of some trainer. At the very early stage, you can guide yourself with lots of guided audios so as to how to begin and learn the process. Avoid lyrical songs, because it will distract you rather than bringing you to track.
It is the most primary form of guided meditation. Guide yourself to the way you breathe. Focus and concentrate on your own way of inhalation and exhalation. Gradually deepen the process, and take deep breathe in and deep breathe out. You can also count your breath to stay more on track, which is also sometimes termed as counting meditation.